Coun­cil’s Te Reo spend­ing ap­plauded

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

An in­vest­ment in bilin­gual lifts at Auck­land Coun­cil head­quar­ters has been ap­plauded for bring­ing Te Reo into the work­place.

Auck­land Coun­cil spent $6200 last month in­stalling soft­ware in 10 lifts in its 29-storey Al­bert St tower.

The new soft­ware an­nounces each level in English and Te Reo Maori.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s Maori de­sign spe­cial­ist Olivia Had­don said the Te Reo lift sys­tem was a pilot pro­ject, which might be ex­tended to other coun­cil sites in Auck­land, and en­cour­aged the use of Te Reo in the work­place.

Had­don said $5500 was go­ing to be spent up­grad­ing its Al­bert St tower lifts. She said in­cor­po­rat­ing the Te Reo fea­ture added only $700 to the cost.

Bring­ing Te Reo Maori into our lift sys­tems gives voice to the coun­cil’s com­mit­ment to Te Reo Maori and ac­knowl­edges the im­por­tance of our Maori com­mu­ni­ties, Had­don said.

‘‘Feed­back from staff has been hugely pos­i­tive and the in­crease in the num­ber of staff sign­ing up for Te Reo Maori classes since the launch of the pilot has been in­cred­i­bly en­cour­ag­ing,’’ Had­don said.

Pro­fes­sor Ta­nia Ka’ai, di­rec­tor of Te Ipukarea, the Na­tional Maori Lan­guage In­sti­tute at AUT Uni­ver­sity, said she thought the Te Reo fea­ture would be valu­able for those trav­el­ling in the build­ing.

‘‘Be­ing in a lift that is bilin­gual is a very good, very creative way to ex­press sup­port,’’ Ka’ai said.

She ap­plauded it as a non­threat­en­ing ex­pan­sion of Te Reo into a work en­vi­ron­ment and said the rep­e­ti­tion would be help­ful to coun­cil staff learn­ing pro­nun­ci­a­tion.

She said it wasn’t a new idea, and she was part of an ini­tia­tive to in­stall dual lan­guage lift sys­tems at Otago Uni­ver­sity in 2000.

The Auck­land Ratepay­ers’ Al­liance spokes­woman Jo Holmes ques­tioned the use of ratepayer funds on such an ini­tia­tive.

Holmes said the value of the lan­guage ad­di­tion in an of­fice build­ing to ratepay­ers was ques­tion­able and it was up to coun­cil work­ers to learn Te Reo. She said it shouldn’t be forced on them.

‘‘Coun­cil is plead­ing poverty, it shouldn’t be friv­o­lous and spend­ing un­nec­es­sar­ily,’’ Holmes said.

‘‘There are far more im­por­tant things that need money, our ratepay­ers’ money.’’

SI­MON MAUDE/FAIRFAX NZ

The lifts in Auck­land Coun­cil’s Al­bert St head­quar­ters now speak Te Reo Maori.

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